Green Archers beat Tigers, Ayo in wire-to-wire fashion

The DLSU Green Archers used a strong first quarter to subdue the UST Growling Tigers, 99-72, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Taft-based squad opened the game with a 13-2 rally and never looked back by taking the opening frame 28-13.

Aljun Melecio, Justine Batazar, and Jollo Go waxed hot from the field in the first half, combining to score 39 points and surpassing the entire 34-point halftime output of UST. Go went 3/4 from the three-point area while Melecio added two more as La Salle missed just one attempt at halftime.

The team bounced back from their failed comeback against the UP Fighting Maroons (61-67) last Sunday by increasing their lead at the end of the second and third quarters to 20, 54-34 and 71-51, respectively.

“Actually, that’s the primary game plan for today – that’s for us to play 40 minutes na composed. You play 40 minutes at the highest level, and good thing sa laro ngayon, everybody contributed and everybody played to the highest level. Talagang hanggang sa huling-huli, nag-stick sila sa game plan and (were) still executing.”

Facing their former head coach in Aldin Ayo, La Salle flirted with surpassing their former tactician’s worst margin of loss – a 32-point shellacking against the Ateneo Blue Eagles recently – by posting several leads of 29 and 30 points in the last moments of the game.

Current DLSU head coach Loiue Gonzales downplayed his hyped-up matchup with Ayo. “Siguro entering the game, alam naman nating lahat ang buhay ng coaches. Again, if it’s Aldin or other coaches, siguro ako, ganoon pa rin naman yung treatment ko. Pipilitin kong manalo, pipilitin kong at least mag-compete yung team ko.”

Baltazar and Melecio, two players who started and grew their UAAP seniors career with Ayo at La Salle’s helm were the biggest source of headaches for the Growling Tigers. Balti continued his stellar UAAP Season 81 campaign by tallying 22 points, 10 rebounds, and blocking three shots.

Melecio, after finding his shooting stoke against the UE Red Warriors last week, once again found the bottom of the net several times after scoring 19 points (7/16 from the field). The third-year La Salle guard added eight rebounds that went along with two assists.

Heading into Saturday’s marque match-up against the 4-1 Blue Eagles, the team treated the game against UST with the upmost importance. Aside from improving their win-loss record at 3-2, the win erased the bad taste from last Sunday’s loss and gave La Salle momentum heading into the Green versus Blue game.

DLSU 99 – Baltazar 22, Melecio 19, Caracut 13, Santillan 11, Go 11, Serrano 10, Bates 6, Manuel 5, Dyke 2, Capacio 0, Corteza 0

UST 72 – Subido 16, Lee 13, Huang 13, Enrique Jr. 8, Cansino 7, Consejo 5, Marcos 3, Bataller 3, Mahinay 2, Zamora 2, Agustin 0, Ando 0

Quarter scores: 28-13, 54-34, 71-51, 99-72